Waitrose 'confident' that its HGV driver used 'correct positioning' in controversial Jeremy Vine video

The video resulted in a petition to have Vine removed from the BBC

jeremy vine
(Image credit: DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Waitrose has supported its employee, after a video showing an HGV driver from its fleet "close passing" a police officer in London, was shared by BBC reporter Jeremy Vine.

The video, which Vine shared on Twitter, has been viewed over 815,000 times (at time of writing). 

During the video, a rider - who Vine says is a part of the Met Police Cycle Safety Team - states "the Waitrose lorry just close passed us", adding "he'll get undue care and attention for that." 

However, Waitrose says it has spoken to the driver, and viewed the footage, and is "confident" that its driver "used the correct positioning while travelling on a narrow lane.”

Vine's publication of the video prompted a petition - which is 'no longer available' - to have the journalist 'removed from the BBC'. 

The petition claimed that the 57-year-old's "show resulted in a complaint against an HGV driver who has since been suspended from his job", however, a Waitrose representative  told Cycling Weekly that this was "grossly incorrect."

Vine completed the ride with Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Cox, and other police officers, as part of a JustGiving campaign aimed at raising money for RoadPeace, a charity supporting people affected by road crashes and also campaigning for safer roads.

During the ride, Vine captured footage of the Waitrose HGV passing a police officer, later commenting via voiceover narration: "You see him flinch, he moves left a bit, raises his right hand, as if to say 'hang on, you just came too close.' Now, I'm starting to think 'this does look close', for a whacking great truck like this."

When the group stops at the lights, the rider says "the Waitrose lorry just close passed us... it was so close to me." He then added, "he'll get undue care and attention for that."

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Waitrose replied to the Tweet containing the video - first shared on May 21 -  stating it was investigating what happened. 

However, the supermarket chain confirmed to Cycling Weekly that rumours that the driver had been sacked are "grossly incorrect", adding "the driver is still employed by us."

A Waitrose spokesperson said: "All our drivers are trained to the highest safety standards.  We have investigated and closely examined the footage, including cameras fitted to our vehicle, and we are confident that our driver used the correct positioning while travelling on a narrow lane.”

On January 29, 2022, the UK government introduced a revised Highway Code. Cyclists were given clear priority over drivers, with the new rules stating cars must leave at least 1.5 metres when passing bikes on the road. 

Close-passing a cyclist is classed as "Careless Driving", and the offence can result in a fixed penalty of six license points and a £100 fine. In severe cases, careless driving can be taken to court, with a discretionary disqualification from driving possible. 

Cycling Weekly has contacted the national cycling charity, Cycling UK, for a comment on the footage, and will update this article should a comment become available. 

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